Flirtbook BR – A survey about “the flirt” and Facebook in Brazilian culture

By Cláudia Pereira and Germano Penalva

Two years ago Facebook,  already  a fever around the world, became a fever in Brazil, surpassing the  Orkut. Until 2010 it was the most famous social network. It has broken social classes, languages and ages barriers. It has been undergoing processes adaptation and acceptance and use by different Brazilian goals.

In 2011, the Brazilian anthropologist Claudia Pereira from PUC-Rio
(Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro) with Germano
Penalva (BlueID - www.theblueid.com.br), and others researchers, did a
qualitative survey with 1,200 young people across the country to
identify the Brazilian cultural identity inside Facebook.

To study Facebook, with anthropological glasses, we must consider the
diversity of ways what it is used for. There is not just Facebook, but
several facebooks, each group has its own way to use it and in
different groups facebook “works” in a special way. If we consider
that the cultural aspects change the way how a social network is used,
we start our discussion focusing it in the  Brazilian context. So, how
did we create the “Brazilian” Facebook? Which cultural habits change
and how we can use it in our society? Facebook only exists because it
is related with “offline life”; it tightens relationships, strengthens
values and customs. Especially in studies of Roberto Da Matta, while
remembering the “balance appears antagonism” by Gilberto Freyre, and
the “friendliness” of Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, we can analyze this
daily changing and modification by Facebook. DaMatta (1985), the
Brazilian society is opposed to the individualism inside the American
society. Brazilians ultimately appear peacefull, affectionate,
generous, knowing or not knowing their opponent.

They call each other by nicknames, it’s very quickly and
unceremoniously; they become intimate easily. In Brazil, to become a
friend, you just need to know each other. Facebook in Brazil, can be
analyzed as a space of “the Brazilian interaction.” The sharing is
motivated, for example, by the character “kind” of our culture, among
other factors.

The large number of contacts added in the profiles expresses the
ability to make friends quickly and can easily explain the fact that
Brazil is a country that always stands out in this aspect in research
about Facebook. Perhaps what was contributing to this fact is also
another Brazilian feature: the unwillingness to more serious
commitments, so they don’t have criteria for accepting requests for
”friendship”. ..At home we have a name and we are recognized
individually and within the role of the family hierarchy. On the
street we are anonymous and vulnerable to the rules and laws which we
are culturally averse. On the same way, on Facebook, we like to be
recognized for what we are, ours eccentricity, desires, preferences
and authenticity.

The border between public and private space is too thin and we confuse
these two lines. So, when we mix these two spaces we feel invaded by
other people.

This research will demonstrate the interaction of social networks and reproduce traditional values and customs of our society, while it creates new habits and changing
fashions.

You will find here 11 profiles build from our search results.
Flirtbook Brazil was made in 2011 by Claúdia Pereira  and for the
companies Blue ID and New Vegas, with 1.200 young people aged between 13 to 35
years.

3 thoughts on “Flirtbook BR – A survey about “the flirt” and Facebook in Brazilian culture

  1. Denise Elliot

    The unwillingness to get serious may work as a positive trait when it comes to be open to new relationships, and that’s why Brazilians make new friends so quickly, but that trait works negatively in other parts of life, such as politics. Brazilians are well know to be uninterested in politics, and other more serious things of life, so it’s truly a double-edged sword.

    1. Cristiane

      “Brazilians are well know to be uninterested in politics, and other more serious things of life” wow, that is a big CLAIM!

      I would love to see the evidence to support it.

  2. Pingback: Ethnography.com » Blog Archive » Incidental Anthropology: Wearing a V-Neck in Malaysia and “the flirt” on Facebook in Brazil

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